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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > David Atherton > Imperial Coinage of Domitian
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Domitian RIC 15
AR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 81 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: P P COS VII DES VIII; Seat, draped; above, semicircular frame decorated with corn ears
RIC 15 (R2). BMC -. RSC -. BNC -.
Ex Savoca Blue 10, 30 September 2018, lot 1212.

The rapidity in which Domitian's first denarius issues of 81 came one after another hint that he was in a great hurry to strike coins as Augustus after Titus' death in mid September 81 AD, presumably for a legionary donative. Dio records that Domitian hastened to the praetorian camp to 'receive the title and authority of the emperor' and promised the soldiers the same bounty Titus had provided. The Roman mint immediately began striking coins for the new emperor. This denarius was struck before Domitian had been awarded the power of the tribunate (TR P). Perhaps it may have taken a few days for the Senate to award the power of the tribunate to Domitian because they had assembled at the small town of Reate where Titus had died and needed to be in Rome in order to vote him the right. Although this Group 2 denarius is not part of Domitian's first RIC issue, it is very likely to have been struck within the first few weeks of him assuming the purple. RIC notes the chronology is not precise with these issues from 81 and they are grouped only for 'convenience'. Judging by the rarity of the Group 2 denarii they could not have been struck for any great length of time.

The type of draped seat with semi circular frame is a carry-over 'pulvinaria' type from Titus, possibly originally struck in connection with the Colosseum's opening games' religious ceremonies. Domitian's 'pulvinaria' coins are a stop-gap issue struck until proper reverse types were designed for the new reign in early 82 when the mint and coinage were overhauled.

Good early style portrait, unsurprisingly reminiscent of those struck for him as Caesar under Titus.
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Date added:
Oct 16, 2018
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Nemonater  [Oct 16, 2018 at 10:32 AM]
Awesome catch!
orfew  [Oct 16, 2018 at 01:14 PM]
Wonderful acquisition
FlaviusDomitianus  [Oct 16, 2018 at 03:27 PM]
Nice find, completely overlooked by miself.
Jay GT4  [Oct 16, 2018 at 10:20 PM]
Good eye!
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